Improved Path Behavior in Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop CS6 has changed the default behavior when dragging vector curves. After creating a path, dragging on a curve (line segment) will reshape the path much more gracefully than in previous versions. If however, you like the legacy behavior, select the Path Selection or Direct Selection tool and check Constrain Path dragging in the Option bar.

Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 09-14-2012


  • By Anthony Edge - 7:21 PM on November 22, 2012  

    Hey Julieanne,

    I was lucky enough to attend your Adobe Eclipse Photoshop Masters event in Melbourne yesterday. Thanks for some great tips!

    In one example you showed us was the vector masking of a heart cactus and I asked why you converted your complex vector path into a raster mask on the layer to isolate the heart. You responded that you liked a softer mask effect and that a vector mask was harder.
    I’ve done some experiments and can confidently state that a selection made from a path uses the exact anti-aliasing engine as that of a vector mask. Thus the resulting raster mask is identical.

    Adding a Path as a vector mask is easy enough. Highlight the Path in the Paths Palette, highlight the layer, then hold down CTRL/Command and click “Add Layer Mask”.
    Just like a raster mask, it can also be tweaked using the Properties panel (for feathering and density) and you can still use the Pen Tool to edit it. However you don’t have access to the Refine selection tools (Mask Edge, Colour Range, Invert) on this type of layer mask.

    I imagine that when isolating a three dimensional element in a photo you may want to manually soften/blur the masked areas when they are slightly out of focus. Maybe this is what you meant when you mentioned “a softer selection” was desired.

    I just thought I’d clarify with you, as I came away thinking Vector Masks were quite inferior when applied directly to the subject layer. I think I got that wrong.

    Now I believe that working with a Vector Mask applied, the density initially reduced to enable live editing and adding a further Raster mask to the same layer to soften some areas (if required) would result in a fast work flow and a great outcome that suits many applications.

    Thanks again for some great insights into Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop CS6!


    • By Julieanne Kost - 12:47 PM on November 25, 2012  

      You are completely correct. As you point out, you can add a non-destructive feather to either a layer mask or a vector mask using the Properties panel in Photoshop CS6 – so there was no reason for me to convert the path into a selection! Unless, (as you mention) you need a mask that has different edge softness (which you would have to do manually, not using the Properties panel). Thank you for taking the time to bring this to my attention! -j

  • By Anthony Edge - 9:09 PM on December 2, 2012  

    Thanks for the confirmation, Julieanne.
    I shot a wedding on the weekend and am so excited about using Lightroom for the Post on the shots. I can already see how valuable it is in this situation!
    1500 RAW images… not fun. But making B&W (virtual copies and presets), cropping and rating will be SO quick!